Anxieties and Small Graces: A Travel Log

broken-glassesIn To the Opera, I anticipated a trip to the Dallas Opera with my daughter.  I will log the trip in this post.

On my dad’s advice, we decided to leave at 2:30 pm. I had intended to leave much later, but I decided to trust my dad on it.   I picked up Alli from school at 12:37 pm to get ready.  I get really anxious about trips, and especially around trips to the opera.  I don’t get to the opera very much, and I want it to be perfect.  I want to make sure I get the time and date right.  I missed an opera I had tickets to once.  I want to be able to see the supertitles and the performers as clearly as possible.  I want to make it to my seat in plenty of time to get settled.  I give special attention to my digestion.  Digestion problems due to anxiety have put dampers on trips for me.  I want to make sure I have whatever funds I need, especially cash for the parking.  It’s hard for me not to sweat it.

2:30 seemed early to me, I’d left later before, but I decided that I would be more relaxed if I got there early.  Perhaps we would have enough time to go to our favorite daddy daughter restaurant:  Si Tapas.  Two big things went wrong.  The first thing was that I broke my glasses.  I forgot to order contacts. I immediately had visions of watching a nearly 4 hour opera without being able to read the English translations.  Then I remembered that I still had my old glasses somewhere.  I tried to super glue my new ones in case the old ones weren’t strong enough, but it was no use.  I couldn’t get them together.

We departed at 2:15 dressed as fancy as we were able.  I let Alli dj the ride.  I’ve grown to like her very eclectic tastes. We listened to rap, jazz singers, Crazy Frog, The Gourds’ blue grass cover of Gin and Juice, and Neil Young’s Harvest Moon album.  On my suggestion, we also listened to a few big numbers from the opera.

We stopped at the fried pies place in the Arbuckles.  She got coconut and I got apricot.  I get apricot because my Grannie used to make apricot fried pies, and my mother remembered them fondly.  Grannie never made them for me, but my mom made them for me once.  I like traditions and struggle to break from them.  I love apricot pies as much for the taste as for the tradition.  Even though I am gluten free, I make exceptions for a few things and these pies are one of them.  On the road, the pie broke apart and became too messy to eat while driving, but I managed to get a few good bites before it did.

In south Oklahoma, I realized that I had not picked up cash for parking.  I stopped at an ATM and pulled it out.  I imagined what would have happened if I pulled up to the parking garage without cash. I’d have to leave and find an ATM and we would have been late.  I checked my wallet just to be sure before getting in the car.  I decided it was going to be ok.

Google navigated us through some traffic and construction in Dallas and got us to Si Tapas at 6:15.  Tapas are Spanish finger food.  It is a similar set up to dim sum in that you order several small dishes and share them with the table.  We’d had a late lunch and snacked on the way, so we decide to get two tapas, creme brulee, and two cups of their amazing, frothy coffee.  We mused on how fancy we were to be dressed up so nicely and eating such fine food.

I had one gaffe at the restaurant.  I tried to convince my daughter that she might like liver.  She said that she’d probably throw it up.  I told her that she would like the taste but dislike the aftertaste. Comically, I pretended to be her enjoying a bite of pate and then immediately throwing up.  I made a much louder throwing up sound than I’d planned.  It echo’d through the dining area.  We laughed.

The bill was unusual.  They wanted me to designate a tip before they ran my card.  I penciled in a good tip and we left.  We made it to the Winspear Opera House at 7.  I had one last thing to worry about:  would they have my tickets at will call.  I was, in fact, not on the will call list at all.  I tried not to panic.  The other attendant looked into the system and found me.  I have no idea why he had my tickets, but the lady did not, but I was terribly relieved.

As we sat down, my daughter discovered that she had left her glasses in the car.  She, being much less anxious than I, declined my offer to get them from the car.  My final hurdle was would my old glasses be sufficient for our nose bleed seats?  They were and her natural eyesight was sufficient if she squinted a little.  I finally relaxed.

Before the opera began, there were dancers on the stage.  The curtain was already open.  They were all behaving very oddly, and we tried to understand what was happening.  My best guess was that we were getting a trailer for the 5 act show.  We’ll never know.  We agreed that it was pretty lame.  I worried that this would be indicative of the concept of the rest of the show.

I won’t go into a full review of the show, but I’ll say that it was one of the best live performances I’d ever witnessed.  The cast was phenomenally good.  The music was very beautiful and the story was compelling.  The dancers and the chorus were weird the whole show; lurking about in every scene, but they were easy enough to ignore.  My daughter told me that it had been better than the three Broadway shows and any of the operas we’d seen.  She was very taken by the beauty and skill of the lead soprano, and she was right to be.

And that was that!  It was a total success.  All we had to do is drive home.  Our ETA was 2:05 am.  We were so amped from the show and the Spanish coffee that we were in a good condition to travel.  I looked for a gas station north of Dallas and soon pulled off I-35E, and the second big thing went wrong.  As I opened my wallet, I realized that my card was gone.  I soon deduced that I’d left the card at Si Tapas.  The order of the tipping had messed me up.  I had written in the tip and we had walked out.  Writing the tip and signing is generally the last thing you do in a restaurant.

I panicked.  We did not have enough gas to get home.  I thumbed through my extensive collection of insurance cards, rewards cards, business cards, and a corporate credit card.  The corporate card would have worked, but there would be repercussions for using it.  Then I saw bank visa which had not been activated.  I’d never used it and had forgotten about it. I wasn’t sure if there was any credit on it.  I swiped it.  It worked. We were saved.

We talked and listened to music the remainder of the trip.  We agreed that it was a perfect trip, made even more perfect by grace;  the grace of leaving earlier than it seemed necessary, of remembering parking cash, of sufficient vision, and of a forgotten extra credit card.  As I lay in bed before drifting off to sleep, I wondered why in the world I’d been so anxious and I gave thanks for small graces.


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